Achievement Recognition: Balancing Athletics and Academics

National Honors Society (NHS) Announcement Day: Membership in NHS is a great achievement that can help in getting scholarships for college. Most schools celebrate when their students achieve this level of accomplishment. They hold ceremonies where they formally announce the new members and acknowledge all of their hard work.

The Westminster Athletic Banquet: Lettering in high school athletics is also an important achievement. Each year Westminster holds a dinner and ceremony to celebrate all athletes from our school. Athletes are treated with a celebration dinner and decorated with awards throughout the night for their athletic performance.

Both of these events are designed to acknowledge student achievement, but judging by the scale of each, one would think the Westminster community valued athletics far more than academics.

The sports banquet of 2015 was an enormous celebration, and the athletes were praised late into the night. The announcement of the 2015 National Honor Society members, however, took place during tutorial. Students were hustled outside, the members were announced, and then everyone went back to their busy lives. Parents and grandparents who came expecting to see their child honored instead left disappointed.

I am not trying to demean athletics or say that it is not important enough to have a banquet, because it is. However, whereas some students put in hours of work in practicing for their sport, some put in hours of work writing papers and studying for tests. The athletes deserve to have a ceremony to celebrate their achievements throughout the year, but so do high-achieving students. Academics achievements deserve more than a simple, ten-minute gathering behind the school.

Surely there is a way to honor each of these important aspects of school culture in a more balanced fashion.

Sarah McDaniel (Class of 2017)

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